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Janesville City Council to delay synthetic pot decision

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
January 8, 2011
— Local police are still gathering information for the Janesville City Council before it decides whether to ban a synthetic substitute for the active ingredient in marijuana.

A decision by the council to prohibit the sale of the substance had been expected Monday night but will be delayed until Jan. 24 to give police more time to do research.


A public hearing on the issue, however, will be opened at the council meeting Monday night and continued until the next meeting.


The vote was delayed because information requested by Councilman Yuri Rashkin was not available by the time the agenda was distributed, partly because of the holidays.


In December, Rashkin asked for documentation that synthetic cannabinoids are harmful.


Police Chief David Moore said this week that not much local data exists because the substance is legal in Janesville.


Milton had a report of a female who had a seizure and stopped breathing after using the substance, he said.


Anyone can buy the substance at local gas stations under such names as Spice, K2 and Mr. Smiley, said officer Matt Schieve, who is in charge of investigating synthetic cannabinoids.


The substitute for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is called JWH-018 and is mixed with herbal incense. The incense is sold in little pouches, with prices starting at about $14.95, he said.


The substance is imported, and lack of regulation means the ingredients are unknown, which is another concern, Schieve said.


The Wisconsin Poison Control Center had 14 calls concerning the substance from April to October from hospitals around the state, he said.


On the agenda

The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. Residents can meet informally with council members at 6 p.m.


Items on the agenda include:


-- A request from staff to sell city property at 3115 Rockport Park Drive for $16,000 to James and Jamie Austin. This is an improved lot in the Hickory Ridge subdivision. The property is about 0.53 acres and has an assessed land value of $30,200. The developer of the lot has not paid property taxes or the special assessments, leaving the city holding the bill for the assessments because it borrowed to pay for the improvements. The city bought the lot in October at a county lien foreclosure sale to protect its investment. The $16,000 pays off the remaining special assessment principal, 2010 taxes and the cost to buy the property with a net gain of $556. The city still owns six lots in the subdivision.


-- A public hearing on an annexation request from the owner of Jay’s Big Rolls at 2609 S. Highway 51. The applicant wants the city to annex 0.84 acres and connect to municipal sewer and water. After the annexation, the owner said he would build a small addition containing an office and restroom.


-- A public hearing on an ordinance that would allow business owners to install wall signs at the rear of their properties along the riverfront walkway between Centerway and Racine Street.



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